WikiLeaks and the 2016 Election
Did WikiLeaks hack the Democratic National Committee (DNC)?
What was the source of the DNC files?
It has long been Julian Assange’s policy not to reveal information about sources. Initially, Julian stuck to that policy and refused to comment on questions about the source of the DNC leaks. However, Julian did clarify that, to the best of his knowledge, the source was not the Russian government or any state actor.
Were WikiLeaks’ stories intended to help Trump win the 2016 election?
No. WikiLeaks has no interest in assisting (or undermining) any political candidates or parties.
Why did WikiLeaks release Democratic files but not Republican files?
If WikiLeaks had appropriate Republican files to release, it would have released them. WikiLeaks’ standard for publishing information involves its accuracy, newsworthiness, and whether releasing it is in the public interest.
Refraining from publishing information because it makes someone (a corporation, politician, political party, or even a nation) look bad is not what journalism is about. It creates a dangerous double standard, because journalists publish information from public figures with self-serving motivations every day. Whether a politician’s speech is being quoted or a powerful source is revealing inside information, journalists are constantly manipulated into sharing information that makes people look good. Withholding information that embarrasses public figures simply because the source may have self-serving motivations or because the information only embarrasses one side of the debate would be hypocritical. In fact, refraining from releasing critical information (or delaying a release until after an election) would, itself, be an act of bias that favors one party over the public’s right to know.
There is little controversy in journalistic circles surrounding WikiLeaks releasing the DNC emails. Even New York Times editor Dean Baquet, in an interview with the BBC, emphatically stated that he would have published the DNC emails if his paper had obtained them.
Was anyone on Trump’s team involved in the DNC leak?
No. While it is impossible to know for certain who was responsible for obtaining the DNC materials and passing them onto journalists, there is no evidence that anyone affiliated with any 2016 political campaign was involved.